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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #3: Avoid Dementors

This is the third in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and  achieving sales success.

Tip #3: Avoid Dementors

In the fantasy world of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling there is a creature called a “Dementor” which is a frightening, ghost-like being that roams around and sucks the souls out of their victims leaving them listless, hollow and almost lifeless.

In the real life world of selling  there is an equivalent creature.  A “Sales Dementor” is typically an insidious co-worker who is capable of sucking the selling life out of virtually any sales rep with their constant complaining and bitter observations.  They find (or make up) fault and flaws in your product. They point out the “gross” inadequacies of your boss and/or the company (whether they exist or not). They loudly report how much better your competitors are.  You know the people I am talking about, right? They’re those gloomy critics who manage to find the bad in just about everything. They’re like whiners who have crossed the line to the Dark Side.

Sales Dementors create a toxic environment with their relentless negativity.  They’re destructive. The more you hang around them, the more likely it is to affect you. They poison your mind and deplete your spirit. They slowly drain the energy out of your selling effort.  At some point you begin to rationalize poor performance:  “You see, it’s not just me struggling, it’s other too.”  This creates a group mentality of  despair and self-pity.  You feed off each others discouragement.  You stop taking action.  You stop ‘doing.’  You become a victim.  And one day you wake up with nothing but a sense of bitterness … and no sales.

A bit dramatic? Perhaps. But you must avoid Dementors if you’re going to control your sales destiny and achieve success.  Dementors drag others down with them.

Action Steps

  1. Simply choose to stop hanging out with Dementors. Walk away. Get back to work. Don’t indulge them by listening.
  2. Choose not to contribute to the pity party (see Tip #1).  Don’t heap your complaints onto the fire otherwise you can become one of those dreaded Dementors.
  3. Take a stand.  If the Dementor whines about the list(or whatever), simply say, “Gee, mine seems to be okay.” You don’t have to belabor the point. You don’t have to defend it.  You just have to say it.  Saying it tells everyone where you stand. Then continue working. Taking this stand makes you a winner. Positive people will gravitate your way. You become an ‘anti-Dementor.’
  4. Find other winners and hang out with them.  Winners take positive steps. They share good thoughts. They point you in the right direction.  They make you feel good. Everything is possible with them.  That’s where you want to be.

Summary

Create a positive selling environment and get your sales on track. Start by avoiding those negative destructive people; not just fellow reps but ANYONE who pull you down.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #2: Take Personal Responsibility

This is the second in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and getting you on your way to achieving sales success.

Tip #2: Take Personal Responsibility

Get this: no one – absolutely no one – is responsible for your well-being and success but YOU!

Not your company. Not your boss.  Not the marketing department. Not your parents.

You.

The precise moment that you accept this reality is the precise moment you will have taken full control of your sales destiny.  You’ll find it liberating and intoxicating.  Once you realize that no one really gives a fig about your sales destiny you’ll start to take action; you’ll start DOING.  And given that you’ve stopped whining (See: Tip #1) you’ll have more time to take proactive and reactive action.

2 Actions You Can Take Now

The first action you can take is creating an imaginary company called YOU INC.  (Or call it “Mark Inc.” or “Sherri Inc.” or “Donna Inc.” or “Brian Inc.”) What this means is that you begin to see yourself as an independent businessperson, not a sales rep or an employee.  Start behaving like your job was YOUR company.  Ask yourself, “If this was my company would I work nine to five? Would I saunter in five or ten minutes late every day? Would I spend a good portion of my day complaining or goofing off?”  I doubt it.

The second action you can take is to create a poster that says this:

So, What Are YOU Going to do About it?

Make it big or small, fancy or plain but whatever you do, post it somewhere visible (maybe next to your Whiner Resignation Form?).  When things get tough look at your poster.  Remind yourself who’s ultimately responsible.

If your sales are down, ask yourself ‘what am I going to do about?’ Work smarter? Work harder? Get coaching? Get organized? Cross sell? Up sell? In each of these cases, you’re thinking about solutions rather than ‘whoa is me.’

If your prospect list is lousy, ask yourself, ‘what am I going to do about it?’ Ask for more referrals? Reactivate inactive accounts? Get on the internet and find a new list?  Start doing! It’s your responsibility.

One Concession

Hey … I know things in sales sometimes get overwhelming and discouraging.  So here’s the one concession I will make.  If it really gets tough, allow yourself 10 minutes of self-pity and misery.  Gnash your teeth. Scream to the sky.  Pull your hair out.  Look desperate and beleaguered.  At the end of 10 minutes, stop the self pity and ask yourself, “So, what am I going to do about it?” Analyze your options. Build a plan.

This is a POWERFUL, POWERFUL tip.  Apply it.  Victimization will end. You will be back in control.  There’s still work to be done but the panic is gone, the rebuilding and re-focusing has started.  Think YOU Inc. and think personal accountability and responsibility. Your sales destiny is on the right track.

And keep your eye out for Tip #3.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #1: Stop Lamenting

 

This is a first in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and getting you on your way to achieving sales success.

Tip #1: Stop Lamenting

I have grown weary of listening to the reps about the lousy economy, about poor lists, about useless managers, high prices, crumby marketing and poor products,  etc.  I am tired of the finger pointing and excuses.  It’s so destructive and well… boring.

Look, if you want to be successful in sales or if you need to break out of a slump, the very first thing you MUST do is stop the lamenting. Stop whining. Stop moaning.  Stop the self-pity.  Right now.

The Cost of a Lament

Lamenting is costly and selfish.  When you verbally complain about all the reasons why you’re not selling more you waste precious time and energy that you could have used for selling.  When you bemoan your lack of success, you heap more onto the fire of despair, and at some point your will to succeed falters.  It begins to eat away at your attitude and motivation.  When you bellyache you annoy many others around you who just want to hunker down and get to work and be successful (and guess what? They DON’T care about your state of affairs).   And finally – and maybe worst of all- when you gripe you’ll  infect others around you with your poison and a drag them down.   They don’t need that.

Lamenting is a way of releasing pent up frustration.  I get that.  It sometimes acts as a safety value when the pressure gets too high.  The only trouble is it grows and grows until it becomes a habit. It becomes easier to complain instead of act.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now

First, make a choice.  You need to choose NOT to lament.  That means stop the verbal complaining and whining.  Right now. This very second.  Choose to keep your mouth shut.  Just say no.

Second, print the declaration below and sign it.  I know, it looks and sounds silly. Doesn’t matter.  Do it anyway.  It’s kind of fun and very symbolic of your new attitude towards success.  Here it is.

Official Lament Resignation Declaration

 I _______________________ on this date of _______________ do hereby officially resign from the lamenting, whining, complaining, moaning and groaning.  I acknowledge that lamenting does not improve things and in fact, makes them worse.  I recognize that others find lamenting destructive.  I am declaring to myself and those around me that I don’t want to be negative anymore.  Instead of moaning I’ll take actions to control my sales destiny.

 

Signed ________________________

 

Third, post it at your desk. Publicly declare your intention.  Tell yourself – and everyone around you- that you’re through with moaning and groaning; that you won’t play that game again.  Silly as it may sound you will inspire yourself and others!

The precise moment that you take these 3 simple steps is the precise moment that you have established control of your success and your destiny in sales.

Well done!  Look for Tip #2.

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How to Increase Sales by Becoming Slightly Paranoid

Want to boost your sales in a hurry?

Get slightly more paranoid and beware the dreaded “PHDs.”

The PHDs

A PHD is my term for a “poor, hungry and driven” rival or competitor.  A PHD is the ‘new kid in town’ who is looking to gobble up your business.   They have energy, spunk and audacity.  They’re the ones who arrive earlier and stay later.  Tricky little devils, the PHDs are the ones who push themselves; who take calculated risks and who get so dog gone creative when it comes to stealing business.  They woo and charm your clients like a Casanova . They’re like zombies in their relentless pursuit of your clients.  Don’t ya just hate zombie PHDs?

So get paranoid.

They’re out there.  Watching. Waiting. Ready to pounce. Trust me. Start looking over your shoulder and start worrying a bit more about those insidious “PHDs” who are poised to steal your customers, your prospects, your sales, your commissions and maybe even your job.

The Power of Paranoia

Of course, what I am really talking about is using ‘fear’ as a motivator to fight complacency. In effect, being paranoid  is an anti-PHD strategy. If you  think someone is lurking behind your back you are more apt to be conscious of the threat.  That nagging concern will move you to take proactive action.

Actions That Paranoid Reps Take to Combat the PHDs

How does paranoia translate into actions?

  • Arrive a bit earlier
  • Stay a bit later
  • Dial more
  • Contact 2 more decision makers/ day than you normally would
  • Improve a skill or technique
  • Read more literature on sales
  • Buy a book on selling, communicating, writing …anything business related
  • Read industry journals
  • Subscribe to industry newsletters
  • Contact 3 (instead of 2) more decision makers/day
  • Visit your competitors website
  • Become a subject matter expert
  • Develop a ‘stay in touch’ strategy to delight your clients
  • Be proactive in your calling to existing clients
  • Prospect every single day for new business
  • Get coaching from  your manager
  • Subscribe to selling newsletter
  • Role play with a buddy
  • Write an article on your product
  • Pay more heed in meetings
  • Take more notes
  • Go the distance an contact 5 (instead of 3) more decision makers/day
  • Get organized
  • Be curious about things
  • Get to know your existing clients on a more personal level
  • Get better at using your CRM
  • Ask clients for feedback on you, your company and your products
Summary

You are probably doing some of these activities, maybe even many.  But the truly paranoid sales rep frets that it’s not enough.  The paranoid does more, looks for extras, gets a little daring, pushes a bit harder and seeks to be a bit smarter.

Get paranoid today… and sell more tomorrow.

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Beware the “Whittle” Effect When Selling

If your sales have leveled out or worse, have dropped off, maybe you’re suffering from the “Whittle Effect.”  Left unattended, your sales might continue to slide and sooner or later you’ll feel the economic (and perhaps professional) pinch.

What is the Whittle Effect?

The Whittle Effect is the tendency of reps to ‘whittle’ down their approach to selling. It means diluting, reducing or even eliminating certain skills or techniques.  It means taking short cuts. It refers to slicing away and trimming good, solid selling practices.   The net result is a  selling skill set that is drastically pared down to the bare bones.

But here’s the worst part: you don’t realize it. The Whittle Effect is like erosion.  It occurs slowly and over time.  You don’t recognize it but it gradually takes its toll.

Implications

Here’s what happens. Your sales level off and then they start to drop.  You dial harder and still they drop. You get frustrated. Your boss puts you on a ‘get well’ plan. You dial harder and yet the net result is minimal.  You get depressed. You blame the list, the product, the company, the price, the manager…the world. You feel victimized.  You know what I am talking about.

How to Determine If You’ve Whittled Your Selling Process

If you’re in a sales trough and feeling a little flustered you might be suffering from the Whittle Effect. There are three things you can do to determine if that’s the case:

First, you can record your calls and compare them to what you were taught in training or compare them to when you were doing very well. 

Listening to your calls is a powerful way to assess your situation.  It works even better if you can listen to some archived calls from a time when you were selling well. Of course, you must listen openly and honestly to determine if you’ve sliced and diced your calls.

The only trouble with this approach is not all companies record calls. If that’s the case, move on to suggestion #2 below.

Second, you can get your manager to monitor your calls. 

This is simplest and easiest method of identifying if you’re suffering from whittling. Get your manager to monitor your calls or role play with you.  Very quickly it will become apparent if you’ve trimmed your sales process down.  Not unlike going to a sports coach, your manager can monitor and observe and determine if you need to put some meat back onto your sales approach.

Finally, just be honest with yourself.

If you’ve been in a rut and your sales are down it’s no time to kid around.  Be brutally candid with yourself:  have you cut corners? Have you tried to steam line your opening statement? Have you cut a question here and qualifier there? Has your presentation/offer been trimmed and pared down so that it lacks ‘umph?’

If you’re like most reps I have worked with you’re probably guilty.  But hey, no problem.  You just need to back to basics.

What to do: Back to Basics

How many times have you heard that one?  You probably groaned when you saw this solution.  You might have even been thinking there was something “else” you should be doing because the basics seem so … well… basic.

But it’s almost always the issue. When an athlete or team falters inevitably they acknowledge to the world and to themselves that they must get back to the fundamentals. And almost inevitably, they get back on track.  Basics are the foundations of success.  They’re not necessarily new or sexy or advanced but they’re reliable.

Go back to your original training material. Go back to your original call guide. Go back to what made you effective.  Commit to the fundamentals again. Become more thorough and comprehensive.  Stick to the plan, put more ‘meat’ on your approach to selling, and eliminate the whittle effect.

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Use the Stanislawski Method to Give Yourself a Mental Selling Edge

 Sales a little slow? Getting tougher to pick up the phone and dial?

Need a little umph? A shot in the arm? A dose of  motivation?  Something –anything- to get your mojo back?

Try the Stanislawski Method of motivation.

Positive Mental Attitude

The Stanislawski Method is not unlike visualization but whereas visualization seeks to get an individual to see him/ herself successfully performing a job (or sport) , Stanislawski teaches that the individual should recall successful events in one’s life or job just prior to performing the task at hand.  His theory is that the mind should be ‘fertilized’ and ‘nurtured’ with positive thoughts.

In terms of tele-sales and prospecting, Stansilawski would probably suggest that before you pick up the phone and dial, take a twenty or thirty seconds to simply relax and think about your past successes.  In essence,  conjure up a positive mental attitude by recalling real events from your past.  In effect, when you think like a winner, you become a winner …at least in your approach and the sound of your voice. There is a degree of enthusiasm and confidence that translates readily on the phone. At a subconscious level,  your clients will sense it.

Action Plan

Do this: take a sheet of paper or a small card and list all your major accomplishments to date. Brag all you like, no one has to see it.  Don’t be shy.  It is a personal document meant for your eyes only.  Keep the card handy – in your wallet or purse or on a document on your computer.  Update it from time to time to keep it current.  Before you begin calling take a look at it.    Haul it out when you are going to make a big call on an important client or prospect. Use it to remember when you were at your very best.  You’ll actually feel something surging.

Look, tele-sales and tele-prospecting can get discouraging.  Don’t become a victim to discouragement. Use the Stanislawski Method to fight back and give yourself a little extra edge.

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Hidden Telephone Selling Gems – The 10 Best TelesalesMaster Articles of 2011

There’s over a hundred articles on this site. Pretty daunting, isn’t it? To make it easier for you, here are the 10 most popular articles on this site (and other sites!)

#1:  The ABCs of Tele-Sales – 26 Powerful Tips for Tele-Sales Success – In this article you’ll get even more links on variety of tele-sales skills and techniques.

#2:  7 Cold Call Opening Statements From Hell – If you don’t nail the cold call opener, you don’t have to worry about the rest of the call.  Here are 7 openers you want to avoid.

#3:  How to Leave a Killer Voice Mail Message (And Get Your Calls Returned) – Tired of a lack of response from your voice mail messages?  Try this one on for size.

#4:  How to Slay a Sales Slump in 15 Minutes or Less – We’ve all experienced a slump. This award winning article tells you how to manage it.

#5:  The 5 Voice Mail Messages From Hell -Are Your Guilty of One of These? – The reason why your voice mail messages aren’t being returned is probably because the messages are weak. Do you leave one of these messages?

#6:  8 Sales Questions You Can’t Live (and Sell) Without –  The key to telephone sales success is in the questions you ask.  Good questions mean good answers. Here are 8 good questions!

#7:  How Mr. Spock  Would Plan and Prepare for a Follow Up Call – This article not only provides you with practical tips but also a job aid that you can download and use to plan your next follow up call.

#8:  “I am not interested!”  Dealing with the Ultimate Brush Off Objection – We’ve all heard it and it’s a tough nut to crack.  This article provides a rather provocative strategy to dealing with it.

#9:  8 Tips on How to Make a Perfect Follow Up Call – By far and away, this has been the most read article I have ever written.  Thousands and thousands of hits around the world. Find out why.

#10: 5 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded “Let Me Think About It” Objection – Don’t be caught off guard when a prospect tosses out this objection.  Here are 5 ways to deal with it.

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How to Slay a Sales Slump in 15 Minutes or Less

Are your sales slumping?

You’re not alone. Sooner or later we all stumble into a rut.  The longer you stay in the rut, the worse things seem to become.  Sound familiar?

How Most Reps Respond to a Slump

Here’s the thing: When sales dip and stay dipped  many reps start to point fingers to explain their less than stellar performance. They blame the crumby list, they blame the market or the economy, they blame the product they are selling not to mention the price.  Slumping reps will blame their competition, their manager and the alignment of Jupiter with Mars.

The trouble is, the moment you begin to ‘blame’ results on external factors is the moment you become a victim.  Victims feel sorry for themselves  because things are seemingly out of their control. Victims are  ‘helpless.’  Victims are ‘victimized’ by circumstances. Or so they think.  And so the slump continues.

MOTQ – The Moment of Truth Question

How do you slay the slump?  You ask yourself this question:

“So…what am I going to do about it?”

Heavy emphasis on the “I”.  That’s it.  That’s all there is.

You see, at the end of the day it’s YOUR responsibility to deal with the slump. It’s not the manager’s job.  The economy won’t change for you.  Your competitors aren’t going to cut you a break.  The product isn’t going to miraculously change. And good luck on the price.

The only thing that can change is YOU.

This is a liberating question. If you let it, it will galvanize you into action because what it means is this: there’s absolutely no one who will bail you out … but for you.

When you realize that, you realize you have a choice.  You have a choice to do nothing, stay victimized and fail miserably.  Or you have a choice to get up off your butt and DO SOMETHING. Once you  come to grips with this reality, the easier it is to slay the slump because your mind is now in “fix” mode , not “whine” mode.

Action Plan

If you are in a slump or if you sense you’re sliding into a slump, follow these 4 Steps:

1.        Give yourself 10 minutes to feel sorry for yourself. Cry ‘whoa is me.’ Lament. Gnash your teeth.

2.       Then, take a deep breath and say, “So what am I going to do about it?”

3.       Then take 5 minutes to jot down your options. Put everything done from the sublime to the ridiculous. Leave nothing out. For instance, you might write:  “ do nothing,” “quit the job”, “hope things improve”, “get coaching”, “check the internet”, “buy a book”, “ask a colleague”, “come  in earlier,” “stay late,” and all the other options you have.

4.       Analyze each option. Some are ridiculous. Toss them out.  Some have merit. Those that do, begin implementation right away.

The act of ‘doing something’ doesn’t mean overnight success but it the first big step to recovery.

FREE Poster

To  make things easier for you I have created a poster you can hang on your wall.  It says, “So, what are you going to do about it?” When you hit a slump, a problem, concern, dilemma,  or issue simply glance it. It will get you get you moving in the right direction.  Click here for your mini poster. Poster -So, What Are You Going to do About it

Start slaying the slump today.

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